Classes at MSU to resume a week after bombing
ILIGAN CITY — The Mindanao State University (MSU) administration has ordered the resumption of classes on Monday next week amid strong opposition by student leaders.
Classes in MSU’s Marawi City campus had been suspended following Sunday’s blast inside the Mohammad Ali B. Dimaporo Gymnasium while a Mass was being celebrated, killing four and wounding at least 50 people.
On Wednesday, the Philippine National Police announced that authorities were pursuing two suspects in the bombing. They were said to be members of the Daulah Islamiyah-Maute Group, a local affiliate of the terrorist network Islamic State.
In a memorandum released on Thursday, MSU president Basari Mapupuno said the decision to reopen classes was based on consultations with the police, military, and the local governments of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur. The university is set to go on Christmas break on Dec. 22.
Mapupuno said the university administration also consulted representatives of the faculty union and the student government before deciding on the resumption of classes.
“The timely resumption of classes ensures the continuity and stability of the academic and professional pursuit of the student body. While acknowledging the anxiety and distress the incident has caused among our constituents, the University assures its community of comprehensive measures being undertaken to create a safe and conductive environment for learning and working,” Mapupuno said.
Among the security measures adopted by the MSU administration is “increased visibility of military, police and peacekeeping forces on campus.”
Mapupuno said an additional battalion of policemen and a company of soldiers were deployed to the campus. He added that there were “regular sweeps of offices, classrooms, and other buildings with K-9 dogs” being undertaken.
He also assured the public that the university had linked up with the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team of the seven barangay governments on campus.
Following Sunday’s attack, the MSU administration had estimated that some 1,000 students had left the campus, fetched by the local governments of their respective hometowns.
To facilitate their return to the Marawi campus, the university, in cooperation with the Lanao del Sur provincial government, is offering free transportation from pickup points in Cagayan de Oro City, Pagadian City, and Malabang town in Lanao del Sur on Saturday and Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mapupuno said the mental health and psychosocial support services organized by the university for students and faculty will continue.
“Special accommodation will be granted to the victims of the incident, including exemptions from attending classes and complying with academic requirements during the period of their recuperation,” Mapupuno added.
Following the release of Mapupuno’s memo, the Supreme Student Government of MSU-Marawi expressed dismay over his decision saying it does not reflect “the concerns and preferences of the student community.”
In an earlier statement, Mapupuno said that “in spite of our pain, in spite of the anguish and fear, MSU must move on, and rise from what had befallen her” so it can “continue on her journey in bringing hope and peace to our land.” —LEAH D. AGONOY AND RYAN D. ROSAURO